Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Cowboy Take Me Away
Author: Jane Graves
Series: Rainbow Valley #1
Heroine/Hero: Shannon North/Luke Dawson
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 464 Pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Available at: Grand Central Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks and Kobo
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: FIRST LOVE BURNS HOTTER
Rainbow Valley, Texas, has always been a refuge for animals, and Shannon North, director of the local shelter, intends to keep it that way. But with donations drying up and more pets in need of a loving home than ever before, Shannon’s beginning to fear she’s not the savior the shelter needs. When a tall, dark, and handsome cowboy from her past comes to the rescue, she knows that accepting his help may come with a high price: her heart.
THE SECOND TIME AROUND
Bad boy Luke Dawson shook the dust from this little town off his boots years ago. He walked away from everything…except the memory of the one night of passion he shared with Shannon. Now, a few wins away from becoming the world bull-riding champion, Luke’s headed for fame and fortune. But then a crisis calls him back to Rainbow Valley, and Luke is reunited with the good girl who stole–and broke–his heart. As their rekindled relationship deepens into desire, old secrets resurface, and Luke must choose between the future he’s always dreamed of and the only woman he’s ever loved.
Review: I bought this story a year ago when it came out. I’ve read several books from Jane Graves before and really enjoyed them, so I wanted to check out this new book. However, I must admit that when I saw the length, I became discouraged. I became too familiar with less lengthy novels when it came to romance. So I decided to postpone until now.
This is a story about second chances, one of my favorite romance themes. Due to the length (it is over 400 pages), I thought the beginning was rather slow, probably because Ms. Graves spent quite awhile re-building the relationship between Luke and Shannon. These two former friends who spent one night of passion when they were teenagers were separated for eleven years with feelings of hurt. Luke thought that Shannon rejected him – since he was the son of the town’s drunk – while Shannon couldn’t understand why Luke suddenly left town without any warning.
However, after I got the hang of it, the story really picked up nicely. I fell in love with Luke easily, as he showed the people at Rainbow Valley that even though his father was the bad seed, it didn’t mean that he followed in his father’s footsteps. There were so many moments with Luke showing the kind and sensitive part of him that just touched my heart deeply. Like when he was taming the mini-horse, finding the right animals for prospective pet owners, painting over graffiti on a town’s store, even taking a six-year-old boy to a rodeo. Luke was so gentle with animals and kids – he was just a wonderful hero.
Shannon, in the meantime, got me frustrated several times over. Carrying the baggage of being the perfect daughter, Shannon didn’t stand up fast enough against her mother’s wishes. In this book, there was another suitor for Shannon, a dentist named Russell Morgenstern, whom Shannon’s mother thought was a perfect son-in-law candidate – and I thought Shannon took too much time giving false hope to Russell. Even if I thought Russell was also having this baggage of being the perfect son for his successful parents. I just wished that Shannon was able to say “no” to her mother much earlier.
The story also had few secondary characters that stood out, for example, Shannon’s sister and Russell’s secretary. They rounded up this small-town-romance about two people who finally took the chance, against all odds, to be together. The ending felt a bit rushed. However, it didn’t really bother me, because I hope that I could get an update of Luke and Shannon in the next book. While the story didn’t really have a big twist or drama, and the pace just moved along steadily (some readers might find it too mundane), this story satisfied my need for lovely contemporary romance.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*